Federal Grand Jury in Del Rio Indicts Four in Firearms Smuggling Operation
This afternoon in Del Rio, a federal grand jury indicted four individuals for their roles in a scheme to smuggle two firearms and an assortment of ammunition into Mexico announced Acting United States Attorney Richard Durbin, Jr., and Homeland Security Investigations (HSI) Special Agent in Charge James Spero.
The indictment charges 47–year-old Eduardo Hinojosa (aka “Lalo”), a U.S. Citizen residing in Piedras Negras, Mexico; and three Mexican citizens residing in Piedras Negras--42-year-old Carlos Mendoza-Hernandez (aka “Pepo”), 23-year-old Elizabeth Cervantes-Mateos and 24–year-old Gily Ajin-Cordova--with five counts of aiding and abetting the smuggling of goods from the United States.
According to court records, the defendants were arrested on April 7, 2015. On that day, investigators observed Hinojosa loading ammunition and firearms into a vehicle at an Eagle Pass business owned by Mendoza’s family. Authorities subsequently seized a .243 caliber rifle, a .12 gauge shotgun and approximately 1,000 rounds of ammunition in various calibers from inside that vehicle. At the time of the seizure, authorities arrested the vehicle’s occupants--Cervantes and Ajin. Agents later observed defendants Hinojosa and Mendoza unloading boxes into a storage facility in Eagle Pass. Subsequently, authorities arrested Hinojosa and Mendoza and a consensual search of that storage facility revealed approximately 750 rounds of shotgun shells. Court records allege that the defendants were aware that the firearms and ammunition were ultimately destined for Mexico and that the defendants were aware that it is unlawful to export those items without a license.
All four defendants have remained in federal custody since their arrest. Each charge upon conviction calls for up to ten years in federal prison.
The case was investigated by Homeland Security Investigations with assistance from U.S. Customs and Border Protection; Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and, the Maverick County Sheriff’s Office. Assistant U.S. Attorney Lewis Thomas is prosecuting this case on behalf of the Government.
It is important to note that an indictment is merely a charge and should not be considered as evidence of guilt. The defendants are innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.